New website, same traditions: welcome to the results of this year's Readers' Poll. It's one of my favourite moments in the SH calendar, a time to take stock of—and celebrate!—the year just gone. In the results below you'll find newcomers and familiar names, with work ranging across the speculative landscape. That's the way it should be, I think.
As ever, we are grateful to everyone who voted and/or sent us other feedback on the year—and, of course, to our contributors for submitting their work. Many congratulations to all of this year's winners and runners-up.
- First place: "Life in Stone, Glass, and Plastic" by José Pablo Iriarte (podcast)
- Second place: "Das Steingeschöpf" by G. V. Anderson (podcast)
- Third place: "A Spell to Retrieve Your Lover from the Bottom of the Sea" by Ada Hoffmann (podcast)
- Fourth place: "Applied Cenotaphics in the Long, Long Longitudes" by Vajra Chandrasekera (podcast)
- Fifth place: "How the God Auzh-Aravik Brought Order to the World Outside the World" by Arkady Martine (podcast)
Notes: five newcomers to the category (and two newcomers to the magazine)—but the first time since 2010 that the poll has been topped by a writer with previous SH credits, and the first time since I've been running it that it's been topped by a male writer. It was close for a while, but ultimately this was a pretty convincing win for "Life in Stone, Glass, and Plastic," a solid second for "Das Steingeschöpf", and the remaining three clustered within ten points of each other.
- First place: "Notes Towards a Theory of Quantum Blackness" by Sofia Samatar (podcast)
- Second place: ICE/SHADOW" by Mari Ness (podcast)
- Third equal: "Culture Shock from Wild Flowers" by Chengyu Liu (podcast)
- Third equal: "Passing Fair" by Shweta Narayan (podcast)
- Fifth place: "The Sparrows in Her Hair" by Hester J. Rook (podcast)
Notes: two poets on their first appearance (Liu and Rook), and three veterans of the magazine, with Narayan in particular having a strong record in this category—placing in 2015, 2013, and 2011 (twice). Sofia Samatar's win marks her ninth appearance in the readers' poll, and her first win in this category but her fourth overall, having previously topped the reviews category in 2013 and 2014, and fiction in 2013.
- First equal: "This is a Real Place, Even Though it's Invented: An Interview with Garth Nix" by Aishwarya Subramanian
- First equal: "Boucher, Backbone, an Blake—the Legacy of Blakes 7" by Erin Horáková
- Third place: "How to Write Like a Queer: A Letter to Myself" by Fabio Fernandes
- Fourth place: "Future Cities: P. D. Smith and Darran Anderson in Conversation"
- Fifth place: "Our Queer Roundtable" by AJ Odasso, Anna Anthropy, Rose Fox, Vanessa Rose Phin, Nisi Shawl, and Cynthia Ward
Notes: an extremely closely fought category, with not only a tie at the top (only our second winning tie in the readers' poll), but only one point keeping those two clear of the third-placed article. Fun trivia: four out of five of the pieces were published between the end of June and the end of August (two in Our Queer Planet), making it this year's most chronologically clustered category.
- First place: Vajra Chandrasekera
- Second place: Abigail Nussbaum
- Third equal: Nina Allan
- Third equal: Samira Nadkarni
- Fifth place: Rachel Swirsky
Notes: this was, as is quite often the case, closely fought, with only 11 points separating first and fifth place. Nussbaum makes her first appearance since winning the category in 2010 (of course, she was reviews editor for a chunk of that time, so excluded from the voting), and Allan has placed several times before, but Chandrasekera, Nadkarni, and Swirsky are appearing here for the first time. Follow the links to their contributor pages to see a list of their reviews for us.
- First place: "black gay ordinary: scenes" by Keguro Macharia
- Second place: "Another Letter to Tiptree" by Gillian Polack
- Third place: Metagames: Playing at Good and Evil" by Andrea Phillips
- Fourth place: "Open Book, Insert Self" by Yoon Ha Lee
- Fifth place: "Marginalia: SKin Readings" by Vajra Chandrasekera
Notes: a very fresh category this year—helped by our double helping of guest columns during Our Queer Planet, none of this year's top five have appeared in this category before. Vajra Chandrasekera's appearance here, though, does mean that he ties with 2012 Sofia Samatar and 2015 Rose Lemberg for the most appearances by one person in a single year (although both Samatar and Lemberg managed to win two categories). I almost feel I should apologise for inviting him to join the fiction-editing team, and thus depriving you (by and large) of his writing in these pages.
- First place: Galen Dara, art for "The Right Sort of Monsters"
- Second place: Aud Koch, art for "The Witch's Knives"
- Third place: Sandro Castelli, art for "Life in Stone, Glass, and Plastic"
- Fourth place: Melissa Pagluica, art for "Gorse Daughter, Sparrow Son"
- Fifth place: Susie Oh, art for "The Wreck at Goat's Head"
Notes: we don't have as long a track record in this category as in some of the others, and we're trying to bring you as many different artists as we can, so it's no surprise that this category features five new names; but as last year, I'll just note that there was little overlap with your favourite stories of the year.
Poll details: we asked you to vote for your favourite works published by SH in 2016. The poll was open from 18.00 PST on 2nd January 2017 until 23.59 PST on 15th January 2017. Each person could vote for up to five works or nominees in each department, ranking them 1 (first place) to 5 (fifth place). Each first-place vote was worth five points, each second-place vote was worth four points, and so on. It was not compulsory to vote in every category, nor to use all five slots in a given category. This year we made one format change, which is that we asked you to vote for your favourite columns (rather than favourite columnists): this was because we had a higher-than-usual number of single columns in 2016. Multiple votes on one ballot for the same item were discarded, and ballots required a unique email address to be submitted. Email addresses were only used to verify the validity of ballots.